Cheating Is Now Being Described As A Feminist Act Of Self-Care, And It's The Perfect Reflection Of Our Broken Culture

For all of human history, cheating was considered to be an immoral act that should be avoided at all costs. But now, it's being repackaged as an empowering feminist act that can help women discover their true selves.

By Gina Florio4 min read
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Shutterstock/Kaspars Grinvalds

Not long ago, you could be fined or even thrown in jail for cheating on your spouse. In the cultural conversation in the past, cheating was always known to be a dishonorable offense that was not only hurtful to your husband or wife, but also an affront to yourself and your dignity. This was accepted by just about everybody for most of human history. Only recently did our modern culture start to shift the conversation about cheating and make it sound okay or even glamorous. In some ways, cheating is to be expected in Western society today because many people have bought into the idea that monogamy is outdated and archaic. How could you possibly expect two people to only have sex with each for the rest of their life?

Humans aren't expected to control their most base desires anymore. Our culture has simply conceded that we're going to act out on our fleshly needs, and that's just how it goes. We're going to do drugs, have promiscuous sex, create and consume porn—we might as well accept it and move on rather than trying to cage in our wild desires. That's why infidelity isn't such a shocking thing anymore, but now the conversation about cheating is being taken to yet another level. Women are being convinced that it's actually a feminist act of empowerment.

Cheating Is Now Being Described as a Feminist Act of Self-Care

Jo Piazza, author of How to Be Married and Fitness Junkie, started a podcast called "She Wants More" to explore the "female infidelity through narrative storytelling and research in a way you’ve never heard before," as she describes on her Instagram page.

"Female affairs are massively stigmatized and judged while male infidelity is often seen as commonplace and just a part of a midlife crisis or something that happened at a buddy’s Vegas bachelor party," she writes. "No matter your opinion on infidelity (and trust me I went into this podcast with opinions) it’s important for us to listen to all women’s stories without judgement and bias because that’s the only way we can truly see the full experience of being a woman in the world."

She was interviewed by Bustle in an article entitled "When Having An Affair Is An Act Of Self-Care," which claimed that infidelity can actually be a feminist act of empowerment for women. In some of Piazza's interviews, the women gave various reasons for their affairs: they were unhappy and not sexually satisfied by their husband, they were unfulfilled during the Covid pandemic, or they were traumatized by the overturning of Roe v. Wade (yes, that was actually a response). Piazza said these women actually used their affair to strengthen their relationship and feel more confident about themselves. She claimed that being unfaithful can result in women taking better care of themselves, hence the talk of self-care.

Humans aren't expected to control their most base desires anymore.

"This is what they do for themselves. They don’t get a massage; they don’t do yoga — they have an affair. But also, these women tell us they take better care of themselves because they’re having an affair," she said. "They’re with someone who finally sees them again, or sees them differently than their spouse does, so they’re shaving their legs, they’re working out more. They’re taking care of their bodies in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise."

Another reason why affairs are deemed acceptable now: men have been doing it for centuries, so we have every right to return the favor! "It’s a way for women to take back the patriarchal restrictions that have been put on us," Piazza said. "Women carving out their own paths; not necessarily having an affair, but having the choice and the ability to have one — that is a very feminist act. It’s bucking against this huge stigma that having sex outside of marriage is one of the worst sins a woman could ever commit."

How is this an acceptable line of thinking? Just because someone or a group of people were permitted to act immorally in the past means we should be able to do the same immoral act now? It's a dangerous, inconsistent way of thinking. Of course it was wrong for all the unfaithful men in history to cheat on their wives, but that is in no way a reason for women to adopt that same degenerate behavior today.

Piazza says we should not be judgmental of women who have cheated on their husband. But the idea that we should never judge someone's actions is entirely misguided. Immoral acts should be judged. Judgment is a necessary and normal part of the human experience that allows us to separate right from wrong, and pass down this teaching to younger generations. However, judging someone for their immoral act does not mean we should treat them cruelly, call them names, excommunicate them from society, rip away their rights, or punish them unlawfully.

Cheating on your spouse is wrong, point blank.

But Piazza's call to listen to stories of infidelity without judgment is part of the problem. We should not entertain stories of women cheating as if they are cute, empowering, or even neutral. Cheating on your spouse is wrong, point blank. When you give someone your word and promise them your heart, it is immoral to break that commitment. However, that doesn't mean there is no chance for redemption or forgiveness. You are not a less worthy person if you are unfaithful; everyone makes mistakes in some regard at some point in their life. But it is not a narrative that we should accept as normal—or worse, as empowering. Attempting to repackage these stories of infidelity doesn't achieve what feminists think it achieves. It only encourages virtueless behavior from both genders, which only worsens the overall condition of our culture.

Why Are the Most Degenerate Acts Being Sold to Women as Empowerment?

This certainly isn't the first time that women have been told that an immoral act will somehow improve their life and help them step into their power. We've been taught that as long as you consent to it, it's good. There's nothing wrong with pornography as long as each party agrees to it. If a woman wants to sell her body online and run an OnlyFans account, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, that's her empowered choice and we should praise her for her bold choice, for swimming upstream and going against unfair social norms that have been placed on her for centuries.

We've been taught that as long as you consent to it, it's good.

Women have even been convinced that aborting their own unborn baby is a bold, brave choice that allows them to live their life fully, on their own terms. Not only does an abortion end an innocent human life, but it can have a tremendous impact on a woman's mental state that hardly anyone talks about. However, it's sold as a powerful act, something that women need to achieve their greatest dreams and live their life to the fullest.

Why is that women are constantly being told that harmful acts are going to bring them peace and joy? It's difficult to find any parallels amongst men. Our society doesn't encourage men to abort their children, skip out on alimony payments, cheat on their wives, and sell their bodies to strangers online under the premise that it will help them become stronger, more masculine men. They aren't sold a package of empowerment that requires them to degrade themselves and deny that their bodies are sacred and precious.

Women are not held to any moral standards and are instead emboldened to cheat on their husbands.

This is not an attack on women who engage in these behaviors, but rather a deep disappointment at the mainstream culture that has promoted and encouraged these behaviors on a grand scale, through entertainment, media, and the general cultural zeitgeist. Women are not held to any moral standards and are instead emboldened to cheat on their husbands, abort their babies, and commodify their own bodies because it will supposedly make them happier and more fulfilled. We should be furious at the mainstream machines that promote this toxicity. We should be angry that women's digital magazines are selling a message that it's a form of self-care to cheat on their husband. Women are fed this type of content on social media and on their TV from a young age; it's no wonder they turn to OnlyFans when they're 19 and struggle to establish a longterm relationship that can blossom into a fulfilling marriage.

We desperately need a return to virtue. It doesn't matter how many feminist rants try to claim that archaic, old-fashioned morals were only used as a patriarchal tool to control women. Just because much of our history contained oppression and discrimination against women, as well as against countless men who were enslaved and owned as property, doesn't mean that we should completely discard of all objective morals that taught women to honor their bodies, protect their children, and value their sexuality.